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Vietnam Explorer 17 Days

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Duration

17 days

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Tour Type

Daily Tour

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Group Size

35 people

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Languages

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Overview

Become a Vietnam Explorer as we travel north from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi covering all the highlights and hidden gems this incredible country. Get a cultural insight into its not too distant past, visit the sand dunes of Mui Ne, stunning beaches, breathtaking caves and national parks and finish off with a private island getaway in Halong Bay. The perfect amount of time to spend in this amazing country.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore the hidden gems of the incredible Vietnam
  • Learn to make a lantern and cook traditional dishes
  • Discover the historic Hue - country's former capital
  • Enjoy yoga classes, outdoor cinema and massages
  • Cruise the emerald waters of Ha Long Bay and relax

Itinerary

Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City

DAY ONE: AIRPORT PICK UP & TRUFAM WELCOME
Today is the day you’ve been dreaming of. Ho Chi Minh’s international airport is where it all begins. Look out for the smiley driver with a great big TruTravels branded sign with your name on it, they’re with us. They’ll whisk you off to our hotel in the city, somewhere you’ll look back on years from now as the moment you first met your TruFam, that’s what we call our tour groups for reasons that become very obvious. It’s the start of a beautiful friendship with your group, your Travel Ninja and Vietnam as a whole so enjoy welcome drinks and a delicious dinner. Your Vietnam Explorer is finally here!


Transport:
- Arrival Transfer

Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City (1B)

DAY TWO: HO CHI MINH WALKING TOUR & WAR MUSEUM
It’s your first full day in one of the world’s most beautiful and hospitable countries. We start in the iconic and historic city formerly known as Saigon. In spite of the universal welcoming vibes and chirpy nature of the locals, Vietnam’s troubled past is well documented and after taking a walking tour of some of Ho Chi Minh’s most notable spots. It’s time to be astonished at what happened here 50 years ago in the Ho Chi Minh War Museum, which sees half a million visitors a year. Learn the history of the Vietnamese war which spanned over 20 years and still impacts many lives today. We take a walking tour of the Independence palace, War museum, Notre Dame Cathedral and Ben Thanh Markets before heading back and freshening up for dinner, drinks and getting to know your TruFam in the busy city of Ho Chi Minh!


Meals Included:
- Breakfast

Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City (1B)

DAY 3 - EXPLORING THE CU CHI TUNNELS

Rise and shine TruTraveller we’ve got a big day ahead! Wear some comfortable shoes as today we’re heading to the Cu Chi Tunnels. Built in the late 1940’s and spreading over nearly 250km, the Cu Chi Tunnels were used for a number of reasons including housing troops, transporting communications and supplies and even laying booby traps before returning to safety inside the tunnels. Don’t be fooled, although the operations of these tunnels sound seamless, some tunnels were so small they were around 80cm wide and 80cm high, meaning for the average human almost impossible to get through. We’ll experience the tunnels up close and personal and explore some of the underground hiding holes. This experience is one not to be missed and gives a real insight into the struggle and challenges of life only 70ish years ago. Early afternoon we’ll head back and grab some lunch before having a relaxing afternoon. In the evening we’ll board a sleeper bus and head to our next destination - the beautiful Mui Ne!


Meals Included:
- Breakfast

Day 4: Mui Ne/Mui Ne

DAY FOUR: MUI NE SANDBOARDING & FAIRY STREAM
Vietnam is a real all-rounder, but it’s the more rural and exotic parts of the country that will really stand out. It’s time to take in Mui Ne’s beautiful surroundings via open-top jeep, visit a Fairy Stream which is going to blow up on your Instagram. Think, picturesque terracotta coloured surroundings, luscious greenery and the sounds of calming, clear waters trickling through your feet. Meditation moments at their finest. After finding our zen walking the fairy stream it’s time to get those pulses racing! We’re heading to Mui Ne’s sand dunes. Hop aboard a sand board and career down the stunning red sand dunes (try to scream with your mouth closed!). This is big on fun! Don’t believe us, watch some past TruTravellers tackle it here. If you’re looking to go 10/10 adrenaline, time of my life vibes, try out quad biking first down the white dunes! Guaranteed to have you laughing so hard your belly hurts. (Nothing a 2 dollar beer can’t fix later) After you’ve finished laughing hysterically down the dunes we head back, freshen up and try to get every last bit of sand out of our socks. No promises there! We head out for dinner and see where the night takes us!

DAY FIVE: MUI NE CHILL TIME & TRAVEL TO NHA TRANG

DAY FIVE: MUI NE CHILL TIME & TRAVEL TO NHA TRANG
We’re making sure you squeeze in as much of Vietnam as possible but we aren’t army drill sergeants, so chill! Enjoy a cheeky lie-in or a lazy morning by the pool. This is also a great chance to remind yourself of who drank a bit too much rum the night before and fell into a hedge. Soak in the gorgeous beach surroundings of Mui Ne, maybe even start a game of beach volleyball (forfeits are highly encouraged) before we’re hopping back on the road, to our next destination - the coastal city of Nha Trang. It’s around a 5 hour journey so sit back and relax. Once we drop the bags off at our hotel in the city, take to the night markets for more heavenly food and maybe even a cocktail or two.

Day 6: Nha Trang

DAY SIX - VINPARK, THEME PARKS, WATER PARKS, THE LOT!

Did you know Vietnam had a theme park? Not even that, a theme park, water park, aquarium all in one! Today we’re heading to the wonderful Vinpearland. We’ll spend the day there so don’t forget to pack your swimmers if you fancy jumping in a doughnut and doing the lazy river. The day is free for us to spend as we please exploring all areas of the park! Scream out loud as you ride the rides, sit back and relax on a lounger or marvel at some of their diverse marine life. Whatever your vibe, there’s something for everyone. In the evening we take Vietnam’s famous and a backpacker’s favourite form of transport - Sleeper bus. We’ll be travelling overnight and will arrive early in the morning into the magical town of Hoi An. Catch some zzz’s on the bus as you’ll want to absorb every minute of Hoi An. It’s a good’en.

Day 7: Hoi An (1B)

DAY SEVEN - WALKING HOI AN, MASSAGE & BEACH CLUB!
We hope you dreamt of the scenic views of Vietnam’s stunning landscape, either that or awoke in the night and saw it yourself. It’s an early one and we’re arriving into beautiful Hoi An. We’ll drop our stuff at our hotel, freshen up and head out in search of delicious ice coffee to start the day right. We take a walk into Hoi An old town and this early, you’ll get a real local experience. Walk alongside the calm river and take in the relaxing ambience of this quieter part of Vietnam. With winding roads and small bridges, it’s easy to see why Hoi An is a favourite among travellers. We’ll stop for breakfast and spend the day relaxing. What’s the best way to relax after an overnight sleeper bus? Massage of course. We’ll head to a personal Tru favourite massage parlour and let go of any of those knots from too much dancing, partying or carrying that 25kg backpack you overpacked. (We told you to pack light) In the evening we’ll head for dinner and if you’re up for it, hit up Hoi An’s best beach club. C’mon who doesn’t love a beach club.


Meals Included:
- Breakfas

Day 8: Hoi An (1B)

DAY EIGHT: HOI AN, LET’S MAKE LANTERNS!
Wakey wakey, you’re in Hoi An, don’t forget! So we’ll get up, get dressed and head for breakfast in the hotel ready for a day of exploration. Fun fact. Hoi An is a town so iconic that UNESCO decided the entire town is worthy of a World Heritage Site. Cool right? You’ll likely be most familiar with Hoi An for it’s famous thousands of silk lanterns. You’ve probably seen them all over the gram. You want one don’t you? Let’s go one better and teach you how to make one! Choose your silk, and learn from the locals on how to turn one of these iconic lanterns into your very own one. Don’t worry if you’re shit at arts and crafts, you can always leave the lantern in the dark to hide your shame. After learning a new skill we’ll take a trip to the tailors. Another famous activity in Hoi An is the ability to have clothes made, styled, designed and created exactly how you want them. So if you’ve been dreaming of that all white elvis suit or floor length gown you could only really wear on your wedding day for years, well, here’s the time to buy it! The rest of the day is yours to explore Hoi An however you like, but we suggest a stroll along the canals, or along An Bang Beach (make of the name what you will). In the evening we’ll meet up for dinner and head out!


Meals Included:
- Breakfast

Day 9: Hoi An (1B, 1L)

Today, we’d give a fun level of 10000/10 and we’re not just saying that. First off we’re taking a morning bike ride around Hoi An, race ya! In the afternoon we’re going to Coconut Woods, which despite the name is actually on 7 hectares (don’t ask us what a hectare is, it might be some sort of squirrel) of water. Ever heard of a basket boat? Well you’re about to have your first experience of one and you are going to laugh yourself senseless on one of these mad cap traditional Vietnamese vessels that have been used to crab fish for centuries. We’ll glide through stunning surroundings before slipping, sliding and splashing a little too much as we show how basket boats are best used. It might not be as relaxing as you’re envisioning but it's sure to get the blood pumping. You’ll work up an appetite and get you nice and hungry for a culinary experience and a half before we stop for some delicious food with the local family. This evening will be our last in Hoi An (until you come visit again) so let’s make it a big one with dinner and drinks on the boardwalk.


Meals Included:
- Breakfast
- Lunch

Day 10: Hai Van Pass (1B, 1L)

Don’t let the name fool you, we're doing the legendary Hai Van Pass, made famous by Top Gear in open top jeeps not a van, yeah! Leaving Hoi An will be emotional but once we get out on the open road you’ll see some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere in Vietnam on the way to the city of Hue. We’ll stop on the way for some snaps, some lunch and maybe even a cheeky dip in the tropical waters before reaching the Imperial City. Today is spent, wind in hair, music blasting and driving along this world famous epic route. A once in a lifetime activity ya feel? We’ll arrive late afternoon and post hotel check-ins and chill, we’ll be heading out to explore Hue’s nightlife where we’re all about the local beers, the rice wine and feeling like royalty. Good food and delicious drinks pending.


Meals Included:
- Breakfast
- Lunch

Day 11: Huế/Phong Nha (1B, 1L)

THE IMPERIAL CITY OF HUE, AND SOME IMPERIAL COOKING
Did you know Hue was once the home of Emperors? The remnants of their reign can be seen all over the city, none more so than within the walls of the Imperial City itself. So today we’re immersing ourselves it in all. But first, it’s lunch and we arrive in style, how you ask? On a dragon boat sailing up the Perfume river. You know how we do. We're here to try our hand at cooking the delicious Vietnamese food we’ve been devouring for the past 10 days and have loved so very much. No pressure TruFam. slice, dice and cook up a storm and enjoy every bite of your hard works culinary masterpiece. Next stop The Imperial City of Hue! Fun fact - The Imperial City of Hue was the capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945 and of vital importance to the last Vietnamese royal house of the Nguyen Dynasty.Time to get the cameras out for this one! We explore the walled gardens and the aptly named Perfume River which flows through it, marvel at the scenery and learn why Hue holds such importance in Vietnam’s history today. It’s been a long day so we wave goodbye to Hue and head onto our next destination - Phong Nha!


Meals Included:
- Breakfast
- Lunch

Day 12: Phong Nha National Park (1B)

PHONG NHA NATIONAL PARK & DUCK STOP
It’s been three days since we experienced a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so let’s fix that shall we? Welcome to Phong Nha, more specifically Phong Nha National Park which is home to one of the world’s largest cave systems - 31km long, with a 72ft high entrance and commonly known as Paradise Cave. We’re spending the day exploring the caves and even ziplining to the entrance, wooooo! We will be almost guaranteed to get filthy, (if you haven’t already!) but it’ll be worth it. After cleaning ourselves up and grabbing a bite we are heading back on the road, next stop is… Duck stop! The infamous duck stop, that’s right. We’ll visit the duck pen and interact and feed ten’s of ducks. Sounds chill right? Wait till you experience it. Afterwards we head back, freshen up and grab some dinner. We’ll throw our comfy clothes on as we’re jumping on a sleeper bus tonight and snoozing away until we reach our next destination Hanoi and a certain bay you may have seen pictures of before.


Meals Included:
- Breakfast

Day 13: Hanoi

WELCOME TO HANOI
It’s nearly been two weeks since this wonderful adventure through Vietnam began and by now you’ll have covered over 1,600km of great times, great laughs and great people. Just because the capital of Hanoi is the last stop of your Vietnam Explorer, these dreamy couple of weeks are anything but finished. Hanoi is chaotic, vibrant and absolutely deafening! You’re not in Kansas anymore. Time to explore, right? But not before sampling one of Vietnam’s favourite beveragino’s, a traditional egg coffee. Just trust us they’re pretty good. We’ll head for a demonstration on how this delicacy is made. Do they use real eggs? Who knows. The rest of the day is all yours to explore whatever side of Hanoi you like, whether that’s the Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi’s gorgeous Opera House or countless other mega snappable spots in the city.

Day 14: Hanoi

NINH BINH IS CALLING!
Ninh Binh is known as the Halong Bay on land and for good reason, it’s breathtakingly beautiful. Today we head to the jaw dropping scenic town of Ninh Binh and trust us, it’s a good day! We arrive and jump aboard small boats and paddle through small untouched caves and around small surrounding islands. Look around and you’ll see emerald green forestry and rice paddies galore. Absolutely stunning. Afterwards we’ll head to Tam Coc valley, here you’ll find limestone hills dotted amongst the luscious trees. One of the best nature destinations in all of Vietnam and 1 not on the typical touristy trail. If the TruFam are up for it, we can hop on bikes and cycle around, stopping for water breaks and those all important insta shots. If you didn’t take a pic did you even go right? We’ve saved the best till last and around mid afternoon we head to the epic Hang Mua viewpoint, with around 500 steps to the top, you know it’s going to be incredible. After updating our instastory, sending 100 pictures in your WhatsApp chat and really taking in the magic of Vietnam we head back to the hustle and bustle of Hanoi. It’s been a long day of exploring so we’ve worked up an appetite, lucky for you. We know the best places in town!

Day 15: Hanoi/Hạ Long Bay (1B, 1D)

HALONG BAY SAILING
Today we’re going to arguably the most iconic place in Asia - this is Halong Bay and it’s almost certainly been your screensaver at some point in time. A bright green sea, 1,600 limestone islands dotted throughout the bay, this is a labyrinth of genuine paradise and wonder. Lunch is served to the most breathtaking backdrop imaginable after we’ve boarded and settled in. Today we set sail into paradise, the POA? Kayaking, viewpoints, beaches, the lot! We told you your first day in Halong Bay would stay with you forever. After a day on the water, we head back aboard and learn how to make mouth wateringly tasty spring rolls. The evening is spent watching the sun go down on the open deck, looking up at the stars and sharing a beer or two with your TruFam. Wow. Does it get better than this?


Meals Included:
- Breakfast
- Dinner

Day 16: Hạ Long Bay/Hanoi (1B, 1L)

HALONG BAY DREAMING
Wake up, rub your eyes, no you’re really here. Take in your surroundings before heading onto the open deck for some breakfast and a large coffee. You’ll need the caffeine for our last full day together and it won’t disappoint! We’re sailing towards ‘Surprise Cave’ one of the biggest caves in Halong Bay. Huge limestone rock formations in amongst teal waters and luscious green forestry. There’s no place in the world like Halong Bay, so sit back, relax and take in the 360 degree views. We’ll spend the afternoon relaxing and swimming before we say goodbye and make our way back to the capital for our last night together. What an adventure it has been, when shall we do it again? On your way back to Hanoi you’ll realise that for the rest of your travels, you will automatically compare it to Vietnam. A special country, full of special people, places and now, memories. In Tru style, we head for one last BIG night out!


Meals Included:
- Breakfast
- Lunch

Day 17: Hanoi

CHILLED OUT, CHECK OUT
It’s a day for sore heads and emotional goodbyes as we’re at the end of the tour. Fear not though, this may not be the end of your adventure and if not our Travel Ninjas know Southeast Asia like the back of their hand and can advise you on what and where to next. If it is time to depart this part of the world then allow yourself to be sad about it, but promise us you’ll come back for more? It’s a very easy promise to keep in truth. You’re now a lifelong member of the TruFam and by now, you’ll know how big a deal that is. See you soon!

Included/Excluded

  • 16 nights accommodation
  • An experienced TruTravels Guide throughout the trip
  • 10 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 1 dinner
  • Ho Chi Minh City Orientation, Visit War Museum, Sand Dunes & Beach Day in Mui Ne, Ninhvana Beach Hideaway, Kayaking, Paddle-Boarding, Massages, Yoga & Trekking, Lantern Making in Hoi An, Bamboo Basket Boat Trip, Imperial City & Royal Palace, Cooking Class, Phong Nha National Park, Zip-lining through caves, Castaways Island, Halong Bay, Water Activities, Boat trip around Halong Bay
  • Aiport Pick (upto 2 days before start date)
  • All transport included
  • International flights are not included
  • Insurance is not included
  • Other activities and services not included
  • No optional activities

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